Mike Hiller, managing director of Miles Industrial Electronics, talks about the need for the ‘holy grail’ of websites and how his company can help systems integrators meet short lead times

In this modern day of connected devices where the internet is at the fingertips of nearly everyone, the need for a good website to present your products goes far beyond having a few nice pictures. Whilst it’s pleasing to have something easy on the eye for a few seconds, engineers are looking for innovative products with detailed content in an easyto- navigate secure environment. The following showcases two examples that can be found on Miles’ fourth generation website: https://miles.co.uk

The never ending quest of manufacturers to invent the latest and greatest can result in a very vertical niche product range that can be exploited by only the largest OEMs. The effort required to integrate such products is so great that a systems integrator on a short delivery frame project simply does not have time to invest in taking a chance on developing a new way to do things. It is only when two extraordinary innovations are combined that the result is a groundbreaking concept enabling what was a limited niche product to be used in the mainstream. When we take for example a Fieldbus card and an industrial PC this can clearly demonstrate the point.

The cifX Fieldbus card is an mPCIExpress form factor industrial communications controller from Hilscher GmbH, capable of running multi protocols for RealTime Ethernet and Fieldbus, Profinet, Profibus, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT etc. It is the result of a very complex single chip ASIC development based on an ARM controller and incorporating Hilscher’s many years of know how in communication systems.

With its several micro controllers, communication controllers, an integrated network switch, and the integration of a real-time OS, a dozen complex protocol stacks with their ever changing specification revisions, all the testing and certification, one can see that this is not a simple development.

But a cifX card cannot be used alone, it needs a host PC and configuration tools, not to mention the connection to the software application.

There are many ways to integrate a Fieldbus or RealTime Ethernet bus system to an Industrial PC. Until now most implementations have relied on a card slot in an industrial rack, but this has its down sides, for example a rack is large and is legacy technology. Back planes and motherboard designs were convenient when the interface cards had many parallel signals like PCI but these days with serial PCI-Express there are much neater, smaller and cheaper ways.

Certainly there are PC solutions with dedicated fieldbus included, but these tend to be vendor specific and only offer the vendor’s choice of favourite fieldbus.

For a flexible open system with tight integration, users would do well to look at the Nexcom NIFE series of Industrial PCs for factory automation with integrated Master Fieldbus interfaces, including Profinet, Profibus, EtherCAT, Ethernet/IP, DeviceNet and CANopen.

This functionality enables communications with major brand name distributed I/O and PLCs. Combining such technologies gives rise to an unprecedented highly reliable factory automation system, saves at least 30 per cent of the cost and solves the common incompatibility, mechanical and cabling issues which arise during system integration.

The NEXCOM NIFE is a highly reliable fanless PC offering non-stop operation even in extended temperature range and includes the embedded cifX card which supports all RealTime Ethernet and Fieldbus protocols. The integrator’s focus is therefore no longer on the hardware but instead on the software integration which is where most value is added.

A good understanding of the architecture, device driver model and the configuration tools for the Fieldbus card is paramount for a fast and successful integration and Miles Industrial Electronics with its wealth of experience can offer a high level of customer support.

Combining PCbased Control algorithm programmes such as SoftLogic control software is one technique, but the NIFE series also supports a wide range of operating systems, such as RealTime OS QNX, RTX, VxWorks as well as Linux and Windows.

Miles has extensive experience of cifX cards built up over many years and have expertise in understanding the integration of such devices with various software solutions to offer design-in and integration support right at the vital moment the user needs it.


Despite a myriad of safety regulations, training, special control equipment and protective clothing, unfortunately every year accidents happen in industrial environments and can have disastrous consequences. Miles offers a wireless emergency stop (E-stop) system from Tyro Remotes providing immediate security for potentially dangerous situations in the workplace.

The wireless emergency stop saves precious seconds. If an engineer gets stuck in a machine, he depends on the responsiveness of colleagues when it comes to pushing the emergency stop switch. In a noisy industrial environment such as a production plant, every second counts in a life-threatening situation. The device is designed to be carried on a belt clip by the operative who can stop a machine within 100mSec in the event of an emergency situation arising.

The Wireless E-stop is rechargeable and has a battery life of approximately 150 hours. The charging time is approximately five hours.

The system is supplementary to the existing emergency systems in order to  increase safety in the workplace. It has been developed as an additional emergency stop for situations where the permanent emergency stop button is difficult to reach.

Miles Industrial Electronics

T: 01604 771122